If you’ve been listening to Let’s Talk Jailbreak, you know that I’ve been going through a bit of a metamorphosis as of late. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of excess in the name of simplifying and streamlining my life. Sebastien and Cody like to make fun of me because of that, but it is deserved when you consider how I’ve waffled back and forth.

My 64GB iPad mini was one of the casualties of my downsizing efforts. I convinced myself that owning just one iOS device made life a lot simpler. I still believe that managing multiple devices is a bit of a pain, but I’ve decided to go ahead and take the plunge again.

The T-Mobile Factor

Oddly enough, T-Mobile is a primary driving force behind my reasoning. Magenta’s new “un-carrier” movement is seeking to shake up the wireless carrier industry in the US, and it’s hard not to root in favor of its noble efforts.

T-Mobile (Uncarrier 001)

T-Mobile is doing something relatively unheard of in the wireless industry: it’s giving its users interest free loans towards the purchase of a brand new iPad. For a brand new 16GB iPad, you’ll pay $0 down and $26.25 every month for two years. Doing that math, you can quickly conclude that at 26.25 x 24 months of the agreement, you’re sitting at $630, which just happens to be the price of a brand new 16GB cellular iPad.

As if an interest free loan for a new iPad wasn’t enough of a lure, T-Mobile is offering customers 200MB of data every month for the life of the device, even if you up and leave. In contrast, AT&T charges $15 a month for 200MB of data. Valued at AT&T’s current rate, that’s $360 (15 x 24) worth or free data that T-Mobile’s giving to its customers!

The Size Factor

The size and weight of the new iPad Air is hard to dismiss. It’s significantly lighter than the behemoth it replaces, and it’s much more svelte this time around as well. In contrast, the iPad mini has actually picked up some weight, even if many do deem it to be negligible.

iPad Air Flat

These points, coupled with the fact that there’s still no solid release date for the iPad mini with Retina Display, makes the decision all the easier. But either tablet is still a good deal when you combine it with T-Mobile’s new initiative. As much as I’ve complained and ragged on wireless carriers over the past few years, I think I owe it to T-Mobile to at least show interest in its efforts to break the mold on the good ol’ boy system that’s been in place for so long.


I love my 11″ MacBook air, but I’ll be the first to admit that its screen is absolutely horrendous when it comes to long form reading. It has turrible viewing angles, and uneven contrast. It’s really a mess when it comes to reading. But for everything else, from writing, to video editing, to designing โ€” it’s absolutely fantastic. The main area it stinks in is reading, and that’s where the full sized iPad comes into play. I’m looking forward to kicking back on the couch and reading a long article, sans any of the arm fatigue issues that plagued earlier models.

So much more

There are, of course, other reasons why I’ve decided to go back on my decision. I’ll be discussing those on the next episode of Let’s Talk Jailbreak. Until then, feel free to go ahead and laugh. I deserve it.

  • chumawumba

    Lol for a second I thought Usher was going to get an iPad Air.

    • Jeff

      You get knocked down, but you get up again.

      • chumawumba

        Enough is enough

    • lol me too

  • Markus Hudobnik

    Is it worth it to go the iPad T-mobile route? I was just going to grab the wi-fi model, but this seems promising.

    • Jeff

      I think it’s by far the best deal if you want to go cellular and T-Mobile has decent coverage in your area.

    • Quang

      In economic view, Tmobile iPad (monthly payment) will be a little bit cheaper than Apple Store ($630, no payment) because money loses value over time. $630 now doesn’t equal $630 in 24 months from now.

  • Looks like Apple succeeded in the new iPad Air.
    A lot of people who were going to get the iPad mini w/ Retina Display have now chosen to get the iPad Air because of it’s size and weight.

    I’m probably gonna get one too. But then, my iPad 2 is still usable for another year or two ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Jeff

      My sentiments as well. I was thinking that there was no way Apple would be able to win back all of the customers that went to the mini, but I’ve talked to at least a dozen people that are going back to full size this generation. Speaks volumes for Apple’s handling of this.

      • Kenrick Fernandes

        Benjamin i read your article and your comment here. Still apart from the size i would rather go for the ipad mini and save on 100$ The only reason why you are getting is because of the offer from T-Mobile. If yes makes sense. However in India here we don’t have such options. So most likely the ipad mini retina will be a hit here..

    • Dee

      does your ipad 2 seem to run slow/lag a fair bit in games?

      • Sean Cua

        My jailbroken iPad 2 doesn’t lag at all, but I’m still in iOS 6.

      • Kurt

        Because the devs reduce the graphics so much. GTA Vice City looks horrendous, but looks great on new models. So much has been taken out.

    • T_Will

      My wife was considering the Mini before today, but now she’s sold on the Air because of how light it is and for the screen size.

  • Ben Reid

    I’m going with the iPad mini based purely on the size, but am also toying with the idea of the Air. They’re both pretty much the same in terms of hardware but I like smaller devices, and thanks to the Retinaness, reading should still be enjoyable. Hmm, but can I wait it out?

    Since you’re also a user of the smaller MacBook, I’d say go with the mini. But for the first time in a few years, both are fairly close to perfection.

    • Jeff

      Yeah, but there’s no denying that the extra real estate is very nice, especially when it doesn’t come at the expense of size and weight.

  • Manny Carranza

    I’ll probably be getting the iPad mini because I’ve been waiting for it to come out with the retina display and now it has plus the fact that I can spend $499 on the mini and get 32GB as opposed to the iPad air which is $499 for 16GB

  • Alan

    I didn’t even know about the T-Mobile pricing. I’m almost sold on a T-Mobile iPad Air. I don’t use THAT much data on my iPad Mini as it is. For 200 mb free per month, I’d be saving from NOT paying for AT&T’s data plan. That could just go towards the actual monthly installments.

    • Jerad McCarty

      so true, if your someone who has wifi where ever they go and are used to only using wifi based ipads then the tmobile route makes perfect sense because the free data would be a total plus, also not having to foot the bill all up front.

      • Alan

        The math seems tempting (or maybe my logic is clouded by my sudden interest in the Air). 32gb Tmobile Air is $730 / 24 months = $30/month.

        I’d be saving $20 a month from NOT paying Verizon (sorry, wrote AT&T before) their data fee.

        Throw in the fact that I could probably sell my current Verizon Mini for around $400 right now? $400 / 24 months is approximately $17 that could go towards those monthly installments.

        $30/monthly installments < $37 per month (not paying data + money from selling Mini). Am I right?

  • Jerad McCarty

    Jeff dont let them laugh, you would have to be stupid to not go the tmobile route. its a total no brainer, im gonna do the same thing as you.

  • Al

    Like the Usher Confession cover as if you had a “confession” you had to get off your chest :-).

    But I wonder whether the T-Mobile cellular iPad will be locked to their network, could it be used for another network. And I wonder how long this will last… Cause I’m sure lots of people will be signing up for it..

    • Jerad McCarty

      most apple devices from from carriers besides att are usally always unlocked

      • Al

        I wonder what’s the catch. I was thinking of passing up this year, but looking at the T-Mo deal.. I might go ahead and pick one up.

  • ap3604

    To me the idea of an iPad is a waste for someone who already has both an iPhone and a Macbook Air.

    Of course you could force yourself to spend an additional $630 on one if you’re a pixel snob and can only read things on retina screens, for myself though I’m not and can read long articles just fine on my MBA.

    • Liam Mulcahy

      Paying the same amount of money and getting FREE 4G is better than paying the same amount and getting just a iPad

  • felixtaf

    I was all in for iPad 5 (air), after I sold my iPad 3 last year. Waited almost an year for iPad5. But now am confused between iPad air and retina iPad mini. They are almost same except is size, weight and price!


    • Andrew Lee

      i’m just as lost as you. i’m currently using the iPad 3 and the weight is giving me problems. i’ve been waiting for the iPad Mini Retina and now there is the iPad Air… i’ve to rethink again.

      will have to physically hold both the iDevices to really make the decision.

      • BoardDWorld

        All that power packed into a smaller device and available with 128GB. And I save $100, it’s an easy choice for me.

    • Sean Cua

      Wait for the devices to be released, then go to Apple and toy with the devices until you know what you’d want to buy.

    • Cameron Chao

      it simply comes down to whether you want a 7″ or 10″ screen, cos everything else is the same. It is a hard pick but i cant see any situation i would need a bigger screen, 7″ is a big enough screen for a handheld device after using a small iphone screen for years, that is what i think. You also pay less and its lighter to hold and carry around.

    • Matt Byers

      if you are totally unsure you should probably wait until the mini retina comes out and gets torn apart and benchmarked to make sure they perform the same etc.

  • Kenrick Fernandes

    guys can anyone tell me how much is 1 gb or 2gb 3G data plan per month on Verizon and AT&T

  • afra33

    The iPad mini 2 is way better with a much better form factor and a better resolution screen.

    • Matt Byers

      How is it way better…it hasn’t been benchmarked or torn apart yet?
      Nobody knows how the mini2 is going to perform yet. Right now we know the A7 in the iPad air and the A7 in the iPhone 5s have different speeds.

  • afra33

    Why would you get internet on a tablet when you already have internet on a phone which you can always tether???

    If you don’t have a phone with internet then i’d understand but if you already do then its just stupid!

    • iBanks

      For me, I want an constant internet connection on my device without sacrificing the battery of another. I can’t tether all through the day as it will kill my battery down. There may be games/apps that I require notifications of where that game/app may not be available on my iPhone.

      • BoardDWorld

        Use Bluetooth.

      • iBanks

        Lol. For what exactly?

      • tethering of course!

      • iBanks

        My point was not to want to tether as it will drain my iPhones battery and I want an always connected device.

      • Bluetooth tethering doesn’t drain the battery as with wifi tether

      • iBanks

        I’m pretty sure it drains the battery, might not be as fast, but I think the extra $10 is worth the data sharing than the sacrifice of battery life.

    • Matt Byers

      if your phone only has a limited amount of data or you don’t want to waste your phones battery etc. Having an iPad with the option to have pay as you go data is very nice. Also using your iPad as a hotspot makes a lot more sense since it has the bigger battery. Also nice having a phone and a tablet on different carriers if you your service is spotty where you live. Changing your phone plan to cover the extra data and or tethering on a per month basis is a pain.

  • iBanks

    So…. I wonder if there will be one device to support each carrier. If so, does that mean if I live in a poor T-Mobile coverage area, I can interest free finance my iPad through T-Mobile. Get 200mb of free data. So no monthly charge other than the device. And take my Verizon SIM card out of my mini and now have this T-Mobile free financed device with no monthly service charge on better coverage with 4G through Verizon and just continue to pay Verizon?

  • Scott Shearon

    Do they offer the 128 gig option? I think my iPad 2 has just about reached the end of its life.

  • arrontaylor

    This is such a hard choice… I’m trying to decide whether I should get a wifi version of either the iPad Air or Retina iPad Mini. But, if I go this route, it seems like a no brainer, I get to pay monthly rather than $600 all at once AND I get some data. I’m starting to think why not go for this?

    All in all, would this be better than just picking up a wifi model?

  • appleyay

    i am getting a mini retina 2 soon as jailbreak is out

  • Yujin

    I’m thinking of doing the same. I have the ipad mini, which I have sold to get something else but even with a 13 inch MacBook Air. I feel the ipad meets my computing needs as a whole. Now. Price is a factor but I think the 32 GB ipad air will be a perfect fit for me since I have iTunes Match and the iPhone is my photo device. So 32 gigabytes are plenty. The rest can just rest on the cloud

  • T_Will

    I’m in the same boat. Before T-Mobile’s offer I hadn’t even considered paying the $130 premium for 4G/LTE, but with the payment plan option and a tidbit of free data, I’m going this route. Hope T-Mobile is ready for the rush on November 1. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Cameron Chao

    To anyone who is at a lost on which iPad to get, i think the best way you can ask yourself is, Do you need that extra 1.8″ of screen real estate? If not, everything else points to you choosing the iPad Mini Retina, cheaper, same specs, sharper display, lighter to hold and carry.

  • Charlie

    Do you think it’d be possible to put an iPhone 5 SIM card in the iPad Air with cellular to use my iPhone’s data?

    • BoardDWorld

      of course… but why would you? Just turn on Personal Hotspot.

      • Charlie

        Ok that’s good & true but idk I hate tethering from my phone sometimes

  • Svs

    So ipad mini 2 pros
    -ligther (around 140 gram ligther)
    -cheaper(cheaper by 100 $)
    -sharper screen (have more ppi 326 vs 264)
    -more portable ( smaller )
    Ipad air pros
    -bigger screen by 1.8 inch

    I will still go with ipad air lollzzzz